Easygoing Houseplants

You don't need a green thumb to grow these beauties.
Gene B. Bussell

Mother-in-law's Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)
The common name of this houseplant might scare you. It may even make you want to walk in the opposite direction. Its other common name is snake plant, which you may not like either. Don't focus on the names, however; think about its forgiving nature. Neglect it, forget about it, or just plain ignore it, and it will still be there for you and looking good. Medium light is best, but it can take anything from bright to low. In low light conditions, water it less. Take advantage of this plant's very sculptural leaves by grouping several containers in a row.

Nerve Plant (Fittonia verschaffeltii)
If you lack confidence in growing houseplants, try this one. Place it where you can enjoy its richly veined foliage up close. The white-and-green selections look great in white glazed pots, while the pink-and-green ones stand out in black glazed pots. Nerve plant prefers moderate light and soil that is moist but not wet. Top-dress potting soil with damp decorative sheet moss to help retain moisture. Allow soil to dry slightly between waterings. Nerve plant likes a little humidity, so keep it in the kitchen near the sink or in the bathroom on a shelf for easy watering. It also makes a great plant for terrariums. For a carefree combination, mix arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum) and 'Luna Red' peperomia (Peperomia caperata 'Luna Red') with nerve plant for a beautiful garden in glass.

10 Easy Houseplants

  • Arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum)
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)
  • Clivia (Clivia miniata)
  • Dracaena (Dracaena sp.)
  • Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia maculata)
  • Grape ivy (Cissus rhombifolia)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron sp.)
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Wax flower (Hoya carnosa)

"Easygoing Houseplants" is from the January 2005 issue of Southern Living.

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